Back to the 1970s with the original queen of selfie culture

Lifestyle

Back to the 1970s with the original queen of selfie culture

Cindy Sherman made shapeshifting an art all of its own with her fictionalised photographic ­self portraits

Mark Hudson

When Cindy Sherman’s fictionalised photographic ­self portraits started appearing in late-1970s New York, few can have imagined she’d sustain a whole career from this apparently niche activity, never mind make herself one of the most influential, not to say prophetic, artists of the past half century.

Her impersonations of characters from imaginary films felt of a piece with the alienated mood of the time, when the Western world was beset by cynical disillusionment, and New York was on the verge of bankruptcy. Even so, making herself the raw material of her art appeared a gimmick, whose impact was hardly likely to last.

Since then, though, the rest of the world has caught up: isn’t exploring your identity through a succession of assumed personae just what everybody does now, as a matter of course?..

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